As a 21-year-old college student who has never been romantically involved, my self-esteem has taken one too many hits. This is especially true after continuous questions from relatives asking if I’ve met anyone yet or if I am interested in dating apps. Stuff like this can create jealousy and stress.
These feelings stuck with me until last month when I was working a night-duty shift with another resident assistant in my building. Since we would be at the hall’s desk until midnight, we figured we would watch “Daniel Sloss: Live Shows,” a Netflix comedy special. Sloss made some hilariously good points with dark humor, along with telling funny anecdotes about his upbringing and some of the things his parents told him.
Sloss also recounted how his father told him that life is like a puzzle, meaning that it does not come together until you go through life and finish the puzzle. Sloss’s father said that it is when you meet your soulmate that half of the puzzle can be in the process of being solved. This was a point with which Sloss disagreed.
He said that by relying on a romantic partner to complete you, you can never find true happiness. He said it is important to love yourself at 100% so when someone comes along, you will know that they actually love and care about you.
After hearing that, I did not feel so bad about being single.
There are constant media messages that push the idea that it’s normal to start dating when you are a teenager. When watching kid sitcoms on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, I would always see female protagonists such as Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) or Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) being on their second or third boyfriend by the age of 18.
While it is common for people to date during their teenage years, it should also be normalized (and media leading the discussion would be a good start) to wait to date until your 20s. There is not a lot of talk about “single shaming,” which according to a BBC article by Jessica Klein, is when people form negative biases or thoughts about people who are single. Some of these thoughts include thinking that single people are sad or that there is something wrong with them, which is why they are still single.
Neither of these situations is true for many singles.
According to a Pew Research study published by Anna Brown in 2020, 31% of Americans are single, and half of them were not looking for romance.
People could focus on their careers, families or their personal growth, as Sloss said.
It is important to realize that having loving, platonic relationships with friends and family is fundamental to having a supportive and stable group around you. Sometimes, these things can be taken for granted because you crave that intimate bond with possibly the one person who gets you. However, a soulmate does not have to be a romantic partner.
In a story on the Humans of New York website, one person described a relationship with a roommate, Emme. When talking about the roommate of seven years, the narrator said, “But if there’s such a thing as a platonic soulmate, Emme is that.”
Simply referring to a roommate as a “platonic soulmate” shows how much work society must do to expand the definition of soulmates to include friends and family.
It took me a long time to realize this, and I wish I had known it sooner. Of course, that is why people say that growth takes time. At least now I know that for the rest of the time that I am single, I can contemplate what I must do to be a better person who can love herself more than any boyfriend can.